Up to 40% more yield:
Cut costs and increase profits with the latest catering technology, says Marlin
Every catering business wants to reduce costs. When it comes to cooking equipment, the focus tends to be on energy saving. However, many modern appliances can dramatically increase portions-per-kilo from raw ingredients. Kitchen design specialist Marlin Catering Solutions says that the latest generation of equipment, combined with a different approach to cooking techniques, offers exciting opportunities to maximise yield.
“Chefs and proprietors are increasingly asking us for ways to improve their gross profits,” says Mike Joslin, director of Marlin Catering Solutions. “Using alternative techniques and equipment can have a huge impact, in some cases increasing yield by as much as 40%.”
Combi steamers, sous vide and multifunction bratt pans are the main focus of Marlin’s portfolio of yield-maximising equipment and techniques. “The easiest to integrate into the kitchen is sous vide, since the equipment is small, movable and runs off a 13 amp supply,” says Mike. “Although combis and bratt pans have a footprint of around a square metre, both can replace many other pieces of equipment, so will actually save kitchen space.”
Some of the ideas are radical – such as browning joints of meat in 90% humidity – but they are all proven not only to increase yield but also to deliver excellent cooking results. Marlin is offering free site surveys, including advice on how best to incorporate the appliances into the kitchen, and free trials of some of the equipment.
An article on the yield-maximising equipment can be found at marlin-cs.com (article copy below).
Marlin Catering Solutions delivers a complete kitchen design service, from consultation and advice to supply and installation. The company also offers maintenance contracts, training, demonstrations and deep cleaning. For more information check out www.marlin-cs.com.
YIELD-MAXIMISING EQUIPMENT AND TECHNIQUES
Combi steamers can save 20% or more on shrinkage, when slow cooking or overnight roasting. Using humidity to control the cooking process, as well as temperature and time, keeps the natural moisture in the product, making it more succulent as well as yielding more portions.
Marlin recommends a radical approach that will not only increase yield further, but also make the food even more succulent. Typically chefs will roast a chicken or meat joint at 185°C-195°C, with a low percentage of steam, such as 10%-20%, in order to brown the meat. “Instead, try increasing the temperature to 220°C-230°C with an 80%-90% steam humidity setting,” says Mike Joslin of Marlin Catering Solutions. “It may sound crazy, but 10% dry heat at 220°C is enough to brown the chicken or meat joint, whilst the high volume of steam will keep the product moist and give a higher yield.”
Chefs often focus on sous vide to enhance flavour and texture. In fact, it’s also a great way to increase yield. The equipment consists of vacuum packing machines and either a water bath or water circulator. Food is placed in a vacuum sealed bag and cooked at a low temperature, which maintains all its juices and thus there is no weight loss. “When chefs ask us for ways to cut costs or increase profits, our first question is: do you use sous vide?” says Mike.
Marlin recently worked with Paul Merrett, chef/proprietor of The Victoria in Temple Sheen, Richmond, product testing a beef dish by comparing traditional cooking methods with sous vide. “Not only did sous vide provide a better taste and texture to the dish, we also found that the yield was 40% more,” says Mike. “That led to the equipment paying for itself in a very short space of time.”
Multifunctional Bratt Pans (Tilting/Boiling Pans)
In the old days bratt pans were only for large kitchens and volume cooking. However, the coming of multifunctional, compact bratt pans means every kitchen can benefit from the specialist heating technology that cooks products faster and more efficiently, resulting in a higher yield.
“The multifunction units we install can sear 20kg of chilled meat in just four minutes,” says Mike. “That’s fast, but aside from the obvious time benefit there is also yield to consider. Searing in conventional equipment usually results in the meat boiling in its own juices and turning grey. The loss of juices results in shrinkage and a poor flavour. Using a multifunctional bratt pan allows the user to sear all the product in one hit, with very little loss of moisture.”
Another benefit of a multifunctional bratt pan is the precise temperature control, which means there is no sticking or burning with milk based products, sauces, casseroles or stocks. “With traditional cooking methods the food reduces and sticks to the side and bottom of the pan. The multifunction bratt pan retains that product, resulting in higher yield.”
The new bratt pans also allow chefs to pressure cook. “Stocks that are cooked under pressure are clearer, with less cloudiness and sediment, so there is much less wastage. Plus, it only takes 2 to 4 hours instead of 12 to 24. Stock pressure cooked in a multifunctional bratt pan can cost as little as 25p per litre.
“These units are relatively new to the market, but they deliver huge benefits. At Marlin we believe that in a few years’ time multifunction bratt pans will be as common in the commercial kitchen as combi steamers are now.”
Four common-sense practices that can help maximise yield
“It’s not just about buying new equipment,” says Mike. “As a former chef, I know how important it is to encourage kitchen staff in the best practices to maximise yield.”
- Start with good ingredients: meat that has been pumped with water to keep in moisture will always shrink during cooking. Products that arrive in poor condition will never yield as much as they should. Make sure whoever signs for deliveries checks them carefully for bad or imperfect produce.
- Take enough time for the job: it’s not always easy to find time, but poor yield is often the fault of a chef who’s up against the clock. Use scrapers and good spatulas to get all the food out of the bowl, don’t throw it away in a rush.
- Keep an eye on pans: cooking too hard on too high a heat can toughen, burn or overcook food, resulting in poor quality and food waste. It also shrinks food right down and causes it to stick to the sides of the pan. Try lower and slower temperatures when braising or frying.
- Minimize hot holding: common sense, good logistics and communication can ensure that, in a cook/hold operation, only food that is needed is held, and that it is kept in the correct way. Marlin supplies specialist cupboards and drawers that keep food in good condition, but these are not always a viable option. If food has to be held in in the bottom of an oven until required, introduce some moisture into the cabinet with a container of boiled water.